The Roots of the Authoritarian State in Africa: African politics in the post-colonial era has been marred by authoritarianism, corruption, military intervention, and leadership failures amidst a broader socio-economic crisis characterized by poverty. Upon obtaining independence from colonial rule in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the public mood was marked by exuberance and … [Read more...] about INSIDE THE MINDS OF AUTHORITARIAN REGIMES
A democratic society makes a clear distinction between state and society and there is a constitutional limitation on the power of the state. This consists of demarcation of activities as those, which the state is well adapted to perform, and those, which it cannot perform and hence should not interfere, in such activities. There exist a number of institutions, which keep an … [Read more...] about MARKS OF THE AUTHORITARIAN STATE
Tom Ginsburg and Alberto Simpser: An old Soviet joke has it that a man goes into a restaurant and surveys the menu. "I'll have the chicken," he says, only to be told by the waiter that the restaurant is out of chicken. He asks for the beef, only to be told the same thing. Working his way through the menu, he is repeatedly told that the restaurant is out of the selected dish, … [Read more...] about CONSTITUTIONS IN AUTHORITARIAN REGIMES
Steven Levitsky and Lucan A. Way: “Politics…is not like football, deserving a level playing field. Here, you try that and you will be roasted.” Former Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi. What is Competitive Authoritarianism?: Competitive authoritarian regimes are civilian regimes in which formal democratic institutions are widely viewed as the primary means of gaining … [Read more...] about COMPETITIVE AUTHORITARIANISM
Hilary Matfess: The development community’s analysis of fragile states overlooks the variety of governance patterns exhibited by these countries. Most notably, it frequently does not take into account the differences between authoritarian states—some may be highly exclusive economically, others may be focused on shared growth; some may depend on weak institutions, others on … [Read more...] about AUTHORITARIAN RESILIENCE IN RWANDA AND ETHIOPIA
Robert Herman: The recent pressure on civil society and independent media in Kenya is not only a significant threat to democracy in a geopolitically important country, but also the predictable outcome of the international community’s failure to punish earlier, comparable state-driven repression in Ethiopia, another African nation that is viewed in Western capitals as a … [Read more...] about AUTHORITARIAN CONTAGION IN AFRICA
Yao Yang: International observers frequently link China’s economic success to authoritarianism. And when it comes to the comparison between China and Western countries, the issue is often framed by the contrast between the Beijing Consensus on the role of government intervention and the Washington Consensus on the role of the free market. But authoritarianism does not … [Read more...] about AUTHORITARIANISM NOT KEY TO CHINA’S ECONOMIC SUCCESS!